We've got a set of methods. They're constantly changing and improving. Nothing is nailed down or written in stone. Our hope is that method posts like these offer you encouragement in the processes you've started or are interested in. Take them, adapt them, and celebrate the progress as it happens. Then let's compare notes, we'd love to hear your stories along the way.
Simplicity can mean so many things. Sometimes, it can mean replacing something plastic with something natural. Sometimes it can be replacing an electronic gadget with a by-hand method. Sometimes it's less noise, less clutter, less color; other times it's fewer appointments, obligations, or clients. Since it can mean different things, in this post, we want to share our take on it, a method for practicing simplicity.
When we read this, there was a temptation for us both to get rid of anything (even functional things, hello plastic broom and green trash bin) that weren't truly beautiful to us. There was a real pull to purge anything that wasn't handmade, responsibly-sourced, or sold locally. If it was made in the past 10 years, it might also be on the chopping block. Only story-telling pieces that checked the three boxes (beautiful, sentimental, and useful) could stay. Everything else should go and be replaced by something more worthy. Of course we may have been a little extreme.
Since then, we've both chilled out a little. We realized pretty quick that going for more didn't feel simple (even if they were good things). So we've adopted a mantra "gather slower."
It helps us practice contentment with what works now, until we're ready or able to replace it. When we update/replace items, we try to do it when we feel full, instead of empty and discontent. Instead of looking at new items as an immediate fix to a problem, we like to look at them like a sweet alternative, a nice upgrade. When we're in a position to add, we like to add well. Simplicity for us kind of comes down to what we can talk ourselves out of buying. Instead of "what's the best wooden broom or linen dress I can buy?" we try to ask, "can I make my current broom and dress work for now?"
1. We research before we buy. We make Laundry Lists of the replacement items that check all the boxes for us, and then wait. We let them sit on our wish list for a while, use up what we've got, live with what is, and allow the right time to come. When it does (when we run out, or break something we didn't love but used), we have the items already picked out!
2. We keep running lists. We note items we'd like to replace even when we haven't found the ideal replacement. That way, when we have a little extra money, find a super awesome deal, or sight a rare object while thrifting, we can buy items we already use in a version we'll love better!
3. We go at our own pace. Replacing and updating can happen at any pace. It doesn't have to be driven by season, trend, style, or a deal. We are both on different schedules, different incomes, different finances, different needs, so we replace or update at different times.
WE DIDN'T LOVE, BUT USED
- Saran wrap
- Plastic food containers
- Throw-away baggies
- Plastic colorful broom
- Plastic dish brushes and sponges
- Kitchen towels
CURRENTLY WAITING TO BE REPLACED
- Dress clothes (laundry list forthcoming)
- Weather-appropriate shoes (also gonna be a laundry list)
- Coffee mugs
- Kitchen table
- Bed frame
- Side table
- Cloth diapers
How do you define simplicity? How do you tackle updating and replacing things?